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Better Business Bureau ®
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Denver & Boulder, Colorado
Fire Victims: Beware of Unreliable Contractors
July 02, 2012

Denver, CO – July 2, 2012 – Wildfires throughout Colorado this summer are leaving homeowners in those areas with no choice but to restore or rebuild. And while natural disasters often bring out the best in people, they also attract unscrupulous or incompetent contractors out to make a fast buck.

“Disasters, especially those of the magnitude of Colorado’s wildfires this summer, will attract contractors from across the nation ready to lend a hand,” said Dale Mingilton, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Denver/Boulder. “Many will be honest and trustworthy, and others will be interested only in doing as many jobs as they can as fast as they can to make a hefty profit.”

Mingilton said the only way to ensure you’re working with a reputable contractor is to check them out first. That includes checking BBB Business Reviews at denver.bbb.org, checking to see if they have proper licenses and insurance, and checking out references.

As overwhelming as the process might seem, the BBB encourages homeowners to follow these simple tips:

· Before removing debris, visit the website for the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (www.cdphe.state.co.us) for detailed information about how to go about this process.

• For restoration projects, hire only local contractors qualified in mold remediation and property restoration.

• Be suspicious of any contractor who contacts you unexpectedly or is going door-to-door to offer services.

• Keep a copy of all contracts you sign and any warranty papers your contractor might give you.

• Don’t be in a hurry. It may take a while for local contractors to get around to you and you may be frustrated. That is understandable. But scammers understand this too and will attempt to manipulate these feelings of frustration to your detriment. Don’t be pressured into making a decision.

Find out if the company uses their own workers or if they hire individual, third-party sub-contractors. It is very important to know exactly who will be doing the work and who is responsible if something goes wrong.

• Do not hire a contractor who asks you to pay a large amount upfront before work begins. It’s best to stagger payments according to the work schedule.

Additional information and tips regarding the Colorado wildfires can be found at denver.bbb.org. Additional information on mitigating mold and mildew that might result from fire-fighting efforts can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website at epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html.

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